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Old September 16th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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Advice on camera placement.

In less than a couple of weeks from today we'll be shooting a wedding inside a cathedral. This is an exciting challenge which we've never done before since all events we've filmed so far have been outdoor ceremonies.

Here's a peak at the interior:

http://www.stalschurch.org/images/stals_034.jpg

The plan is to run four cameras -- two (hv30 and hvr-a1) static on tripods with a somewhat wide shot B roll stuff. The remaining two are XH-A1 one of which hopefully can be mobile either on a light tripod or a monopod while the other will be on a relatively heavy fluid head tripod for tight shots. I'm told the interior is not well lit so am expecting some gain noise from the hv30 and hvr-a1. I think the XH-A1 will be fine at 0 or 3db gain.

Sound will come from a wireless mic on the groom and a digital recorder placed somewhere in addition to in-camera mics or on-camera shotgun mics. The wireless will be monitored via headphones on one of the XH-A1s.

This cathedral boasts a 37 rank pipe organ. Capturing the richness of the organ will be part of the challenge.

Our style is to maintain some distance, try to not be noticed much and let the photographer get in for close shots. To do this we rely heavily upon the long end of the XH-A1 lens for tight shots.

A small logistical problem is that this being a Catholic ceremony can run more than an hour (our last was short at 54 minutes). Access to static cameras to change tape will be a must. We mainly run a DTE (Focus Enhancements) on the XH-A1s but could instead run tape on the XH-A1s and use DTE on the static cameras -- this would be a last option though because of tape capture times in post.

My puzzle is planning good locations for all of the cameras. The long side of the XH-A1 lens allows for some distance for closeups of the couple's faces and hands. It's these angles I'm most concerned about. In an outdoor setting we have the flexibility to change camera locations in order to get a better angle for rings, unity candles, vows, etc. I suspect our ability to change positions will be limited.

Any suggestions will be welcomed.

Thanks
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Old September 16th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #2
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Looks like there is a 2nd level on the right which you could use for some tighter B roll. Perhaps one in the 2nd level rear for another wide B roll.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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Steve,
my suggestion is to attend the rehearsal and while there, look the place over AND then talk to the person in charge, whether it's the officiant or co-ordinator and find out what they allow and what they don't and my suggestion is follow their rules. Why? Because 1) you may have to go back there later and 2) I may have to go there later. Well maybe not me, but other videographers and when 1 breaks the rules they take it out on all of us.
Once you know what you can and can not do you'll find camera placement easy.

For example, I did a wedding in a church I had never worked in before in 26 years of this.
I knew they were strict and
i called the wedding co-ordinator a week before to double check on a couple of things I wasn't clear on. After talking to her and then going to the church to do the job I have come to the conclusion that the rules are idotic BUT, if I ever go there again I WILL abide by them. They are one of the strictest churches around Chicago and I know I would be welcomed back because she told me.

So what I'm saying is go to the rehearsal, talk to the person in charge, play by the rules and with 4 cameras running you'll be fine. Plus you'll be welcomed back again and so will I.

;-)
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Old September 16th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #4
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be careful of tight shots on a1. it drops exposure a lot. if the place is not well lit, you'll have very dark image on CU... remember to set exposure manually on the hv30s.. its better to gain up in post then have it gain up by itself to the max
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Old September 16th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #5
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for tape changes, consider getting the 83 minute tapes. For religious ceremonies I check ahead to make sure I will or will not need the 83 min tape. If I need it, then the unmaned cam gets that tape.

for placements, that is a tough one. you will stand out no matter what. do you have a LANC and external monitor so you can monitor the video from a front cam while sitting with teh audience and then jsut reach up occasionally to pan / tilt while controlling all zoom focus, etc with the LANC?
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
...So what I'm saying is go to the rehearsal, talk to the person in charge, play by the rules and with 4 cameras running you'll be fine. Plus you'll be welcomed back again and so will I.
I forgot to mention attending the rehearsal is part of the plan. We always attend rehearsals so I neglected to mention it. Thanks for pointing out the importance.

Your reminder to abide by the rules is appropriate. I've heard stories about how intrusive and inconsiderate videographers are not appreciated. My experience as a sports videographer has taught me how to stay out of the way (racing videography can be hazardous) and to follow the rules (in racing access to the track and pit area will be denied if one doesn't -- I assume the same applies here). I also have a conversation with the photographer to let her/him know I'm willing to stay out of the way as much as possible. I give the photographer priority because of the photographer's need to capture an instance in time whereas I can consider the photographer to be part of the event. This etiquette is producing referrals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Once you know what you can and can not do you'll find camera placement easy.
For some reason I didn't think of it this way. This is a reassuring thought. However, I'm curious about "typical" placement in this sort of environment.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
for tape changes, consider getting the 83 minute tapes. For religious ceremonies I check ahead to make sure I will or will not need the 83 min tape. If I need it, then the unmaned cam gets that tape.
Longer tape didn't occur to me. I'll check into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
for placements, that is a tough one. you will stand out no matter what. do you have a LANC and external monitor so you can monitor the video from a front cam while sitting with teh audience and then jsut reach up occasionally to pan / tilt while controlling all zoom focus, etc with the LANC?
I have LANC but no exernal monitor. This gives me ideas for the future.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
be careful of tight shots on a1. it drops exposure a lot. if the place is not well lit, you'll have very dark image on CU... remember to set exposure manually on the hv30s.. its better to gain up in post then have it gain up by itself to the max
You might have saved me some pain in post. Setting the exposure on the hv30 didn't occur to me.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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Steve,
I've done work for NASCAR and you're right. Screw up an 2 things can happen. Neither are good. Either you are denied access to pits, garage and other vital areas you need to be OR you can get hurt.

First rules of auto racing camera work. 1) Always protect your eyes with safety glasses. 2) always protect your ears with ear plugs or muffs and 3) NEVER NEVER NEVER turn your back to a hot track.
Oh yeah 4th rule. Never do anything to a camera until the director gives you the OK! :-)
I made that mistake once-lucky for me the director was a cool guy especially since he wanted to cut to that camera just as I put my hand in front of it to clean the glass. OOPS!

Sorry to get OT but when you mentioned racing... ;-)

Anyway go to the rehearsal, talk to the people in charge, use your best judgement for stting upthe cams and I'm sure you'll be fine.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #10
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I decided to use the "TrueColor" settings I found in another thread on my XH-A1s which produced some great looking video at only 6db gain. It's like the cameras had more dynamic range than before.

Thanks to all who responded to my question. The static cam positions were in the balcony on one side and the organ balcony at the rear.

When I get a chance I'll post a couple of frame grabs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Steve,
....
Anyway go to the rehearsal, talk to the people in charge, use your best judgement for stting upthe cams and I'm sure you'll be fine.
Don,

You were right. Attending the rehearsal helped planning tremendously. Come wedding day I had a clear idea where I needed to position my assistant (my very helpful wife) to get most of the shots and I was able to plan my moves from position to position to get the shots (precession, rings, candles etc.) without causing a distraction or having shakey footage from being in a rush.


Steve
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Old September 30th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #11
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Glad it worked out for you.
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